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Rushing Bill when can’t even implement smoking ban in eateries
Published on: Sunday, July 31, 2022
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THE Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, announced that under the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, tobacco, tobacco products and its alternatives like vape cannot be sold to those born starting 2007.

Under the generational end game’s (GEG) initial proposal, the ban was to start among those born starting from 2005.

That the move to delay it by two years, literally hours before the Bill was to see the light of day in the legislature, does not inspire confidence. It also raises questions about just how prepared the ministry was in rolling out the GEG Bill.

Is seven months enough for a bill as bold as this to pass muster?

Has enough engagement been made with the relevant stakeholders like health experts, the local councils, coffeeshop owners, the police, schools, the Customs Department, tobacco companies and even smokers themselves?

Based on the hue and cry from these stakeholders, it would appear that ministry did not do enough to seek feedback from the stakeholders.

It’s not just stakeholders who are having doubts about the ministry’s readiness in GEG. Even members of parliament have had reservations. In a poll conducted by a health portal of 40 federal lawmakers, only 12 said they would vote for the Bill.

The reasons for the reservations of these MPs are arguments we are already quite familiar with: poor enforcement, flourishing black market, loss of revenue to the government, being denied access to tobacco replacement therapy and impact on small businesses, just to cite a few.

Furthermore, if we can’t even effectively implement the ban on smoking in eateries, how can we possibly execute an even more ambitious plan to introduce a generational ban on smoking, that has not yet been done anywhere else in the world?

I wish to clearly state that I am all for curbing smoking for health reasons.

What I am against is a rushed job that is not properly thought out, which can blow up in our face in time to come.

In short, coming up with a law is one thing, and executing it is another. And, by the looks of it, Malaysia is ill-prepared not just in the latter, but quite possibly the former, too.

STH

 

- The views expressed here are the views of the writer STH and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.



- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]





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